All flashlights are not made to go with a keyring. If there is a place where a flashlight could be useful and be with you all the time, it’s with your keys.
I give you my 9 essential qualities so that a lamp accompanies you a long time on your keyring.
01 – A MAXIMUM LENGTH OF 7 CM.
It is clear that having a lamp on your keychain means that it should not take up too much space. Your keychain must still be able to go where you usually store it. The goal is to have a lamp hanging on your keys and not the opposite. The appreciation of the length here is quite personal because 7 cm allow to store your lamp in the watch pocket of your jeans without exceeding too much. If you have bigger pockets then a bigger lamp could also do the trick.
02 – ACCEPTING AN AAA OR RECHARGEABLE BATTERY.
Why an AAA battery? because we find it everywhere and there are rechargeable ones. Many flashlights that are found here and there on the internet have special batteries (CR123a, 18650, 14500, etc …) often these batteries have a good power to power up your lamp for several hours. The big problem with these batteries is that they are not found everywhere and require their own charger. Personally, I have all my lamps that work either with AA or with AAA, or are directly rechargeable. You can do it differently. In this case, have enough batteries in reserve to run them.
03 – THE LOOP TO PASS THE RING OF THE KEYCHAIN MUST BE AN INTEGRAL PART OF THE DESIGN OF THE LAMP.
When I put a lamp with my keys that will be in my pocket, I need all the elements to hold together. So, I pass the ring of the keychain directly in the loop of the lamp provided for that.
Like that, if I have to pull hard on the keychain, I’m sure everything will stay together. Often the lamps are delivered with small rings of key-rings. I avoid using them if my keychain is intended to be in my pocket because of the pressure that will be exerted on this small ring, it has chances to deform. In the long run, the ring will no longer fulfill its role and when you pull on your keychain, your lamp could, one day, detach from it.
In addition, the finesse of these small rings, that with pressure, can get caught in the fibers of your pants and twist even more or stay stuck.
04 – BE WATERPROOF.
It is essential that a lamp is waterproof. It would be silly, if at first contact with water, it stops working. We often think that waterproofness only concerns being in the rain or dropping the lamp in a puddle but in our pocket, it will also be subjected to water vapor emitted by our skin. Without a good seal, a lamp could oxidize just by staying in your pocket doing anything.
05 – BE RESISTANT TO SHOCK AND PRESSURE.
Same as for the ring that attaches it to the key ring. If the lamp does not withstand the pressure, it will break even before you can use it. The most sensitive part is the one that attaches it to the keychain. It is this part that will have to resist the twists of the keychain in your pocket. If this part is made of fragile plastic, it will last only a few months in a jeans pocket. In this case, it must be either all metal, or in a very hard plastic but with a metal buckle crimped in plastic to attach to the keychain.
06 – HAVE ENOUGH LIGHTING POWER TO SEE AT LEAST 30 METERS.
Moving around with a lamp that hardly lights your feet will not be a pleasure. To see 10 meters or more in front of you is much more comfortable. There are all kinds of output powers but try to be above 50 lumens. A power of 120 lumens is interesting if you want to see far enough in open area.
07 – HAVE SEVERAL OUTPUT POWERS.
Having two or three output powers is interesting for two reasons, glare and autonomy. If you have to read a map or document in the middle of the night, when your eyes are used to dim light, with 130 lumens of power in the face will be very unpleasant. Having lower powers will be much more interesting in these cases. In addition, if you use the low-power lamp most of the time, the batteries will discharge less quickly.
08 – A GOOD AUTONOMY.
For me a good autonomy, it is 5 or 6 hours at normal power. As a general rule, such a small lamp hardly exceeds a hour and half to the maximum power (120/130 Lumens). By cons with a lower power this autonomy is longer. Hence the need to have multiple output powers.
09 – DO NOT HAVE TREND TO SWITCH ON IN THE POCKET.
It is annoying to need his lamp and that it is completely discharged because it was lit alone in your pocket. This is not systematic, but it can still happen. Button lamps are the most sensitive to this problem. The pressure on a set of keys is enough to squeeze the button on your lamp and turn it on. Fortunately some manufacturers have planned this by putting a “lock” mode that prevents the lamp from lighting without doing any special handling or having to double click to activate the lamp. Which reduces the risk of it turning on by itself.. I advise you this type of lamp.
10 – BE EASY TO USE.
“It’s obvious,” you say to me. Yes, but it is very personal. Some people will have trouble with multimode lamps because too complex for them and others will just prefer a lamp able to adapt to their needs. Think about your real needs and choose a lamp based on them.
These qualities also form my scoring criterias of flashlights, i will try on this blog, which spend their life hanging on a key ring or in a pocket.
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